The Walpole Public School System and the Walpole Police Department in Massachusetts are facing public outrage after handcuffing a 9-year-old student to a pole during a mental health crisis, further exemplifying the systemic issues in our schools and the increasing tendency to rely on the American police state. Lawyers for Civil Rights and Anderson Krieger LLC law firm have written a letter to the involved parties demanding wide-ranging reform in response to this disturbing incident.
On January 12, the third-grade student, diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and delayed intelligence, faced a dysregulated episode in class. The student’s individualized education plan contained specific procedures for positive reinforcement to regulate his behavior. Instead of following those guidelines, school staff called the school resource officer, who then summoned officers from the Walpole Police Department.
Remember, this is a 9-year-old boy… not a hardened armed criminal on the run.
Nevertheless, two officers arrived and forcibly handcuffed the child to a pole, restraining his arms and legs before taking him to a local hospital. He was held in adult custody, unable to reach his mother until his discharge. Erika Richmond, an attorney with Lawyers for Civil Rights, stated, “The actions taken by Walpole Public Schools and the Walpole Police Department against this 9-year-old boy were egregious, age-inappropriate, and directly contradicted the school’s own guidance for regulating his behavior.”